Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy Advent

 Happy first day of Advent everyone!  I am so excited about the Advent season finally starting (it feels like I have been waiting forever on December 1st to get here).  Two reasons I am excited... Numero 1: This is the first time I have ever celebrated Advent.  Numero 2:  Since we are not doing treats but activities instead, it is like my husband and I have 25 dates planned for the next 25 days, and I love dates with my husband!  To celebrate Advent I prayed for days for God to show me how to make an Advent calendar.  My sister in law is so creative!  She made these beautiful little boxes out of Christmas cards last year.  They were adorable, and after stalking pinterest and google... I came up with this.  I adore our little Advent calendar.
 Today is the first day! 
 What do we do on the first day?  We go on a fun Christmas trip.  In an hour we will be loading up the car and headed to Silver Dollar City to see the lights.  Last year, Michael and I went to Hot Springs to see the lights at Garvin Gardens.  This year, we are getting to take a whole slew of Beans.  All of my nieces and my brother and sister-in-law are coming with us! 

The third reason I am really, really, really excited is that each day there is a verse that is going to lead our family through the gospel.  Today's first is John 1:1-5

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Such powerful verses in such a time of need!  I get so frustrated with our world sometimes, but He has overcome the darkness... we will overcome the darkness! 

 The last thing on our Advent Calendar is this ornament.  This is just a little cheap thing I found at Hobby Lobby (GO HOBBY LOBBY), but I adore it already.  We will put it on our tree first thing Christmas morning and then read and discuss the Christmas story.  A whole month of celebration awaits!

The two stockings and the sign have nothing to do withe Advent, but I just had to share.  My wonderful sister-in-law and I worked all day long to make these stockings.  They are lined burlap, and we actually MADE them.  I mean I went to the store to buy fabric, we got out the sewing machine, and we made them.  I like them, but I may be sticking to buying items that need to be sewn in the future.  I still have scars.. ;)  In addition to these stockings.. I had to share my little sign.  I love this little sign.  It brings a smile to my face everytime, and it happily greets visitors. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Ornaments

 Christmas season is almost here, and we are getting ready for it at the Bean house.  Monday night, I hosted a Clep test prep for my students and some that are not my students but needed the practice.  When I got there, one of my beautiful students presented me this ornament.  It is precious to me.  Almost a year ago, I asked Michael for a camera, and he said to wait.  Almost a year ago I began praying, and now here we are on the go constantly capturing God's moments.  I am know begging Michael to learn how to shoot so that he can be my second shooter.  Every life changing moment or trip that Michael and I experience, we buy a Christmas ornament.  Sometimes ornaments are no where to be found, so we end up getting a key chain, and yes, the key chain goes on the tree.  Anyway, I would like to share some of our new ornaments this year.  My ornaments are so special to me! 

Some friends gave us a weekend get away trip last Christmas, and nothing work out on the trip.  By the end of the night, Michael and I were just laughing.  It rained on us, and we walked into this hotel dripping wet where everyone else was wearing ball gowns.  We got spoiled ice cream from Sonic and finally made a taco bell run when all else failed.  We did get to see some beautiful Christmas lights.  It was such a wonderful weekend despite all that happened because it was one of THOSE weekend trips.  I loved it!!  I love when things do not go according to plan.

 This is the ornament I picked up from San Fransico when I attended my Not For Sale Fight Against Human Trafficking Investigator Academy.  I went to Pier 39 to play tourist.  I had such a lovely time in the city, and I am so thankful for the things I learned there and how God has opened up doors.  This ornament constantly reminds me that my dear husband will always let me chase the things God has created.  What a wonderful husband and God I have!
 Last year, Michael and I got the chance to work with an organization in Atlanta fighting trafficking and the sex industry.  We spent our Christmas going in and out of brothels and strip clubs!  I am just amazed at the adventures God has given us!!  Michael was of course the hit of the show... he carried twice as many food boxes as most people and he was so protective of the team when we went into the brothels!  We picked this ornament up after going to Birmingham to spend Christmas Eve at David Platt's church.
 This is not only an ornament but a reminder of the sweet baby we lost earlier this fall.  I guess, it is actually a reminder of both of our sweet babies that wait for us in heaven.  We keep this out all year long, but it is nice to be able to hang this on the tree.  This brings tears to my eyes still.  I miss my children, but I know that they are in good hands.  They are playing and walking with the King!  I am blessed to know that they are well taken care of.

Picked up in the airport on my way back from San Fransico.  I went to Colorado a long time ago but forgot to get an ornament, so this was on the top of the to do list.  However, this also serves as a reminder of the time I spent in the airport alone!  I was so scared and my God gave me courage and strength, and my husband gave me encouragement!

My dad got married this past year.  His wife is very considerate of Michael and I.  The past few years, we have spend the day after Thanksgiving with my dad.  This year, his wife made me a special Paleo Pumpkin Pie.  I was very grateful.  She got Michael this ornament shortly before her and my dad got married.  She has been so good for my dad.

So what Christmas traditions do you have in your home?